Since ancestral times, there are several Pehuenche families who inhabit the community which, since 1997, has been called "El Avellano" (Chilean hazelnut).
Today, around 40 families struggle to preserve their culture and customs and to enrich their territory, which they have achieved day by day collecting hazelnuts to fill 50-kilo sacs. There are 6 hectares of hazelnut trees that shelter this community, which has been manually working its products and, at the same time, marketing them.
The raw material of their lands is important and the desire of this community to get ahead is even greater, so they seek to put a stamp of “denomination of origin” on each one of their products.
Through the Pehuén Foundation, an organization that was created as a result of the construction of the Pangue Hydroelectric Plant, a project was created with the aim of modernizing their work and making the processing of the hazelnuts semi-industrial, while maintaining the connection to ancestral and cultural knowledge of these Pehuenche families. The project also supports the community with materials for fencing and management of hazelnut forests, as well as the elaboration of a forest management plan to be presented at CONAF.
Thanks to the constant dialogue between the community and the company, the first stage of the project began when 15 members of the community were trained in "Handling, processing, and marketing of food products present in the territory," which took place at Universidad de Concepción’s Agro-Industrial Development Center.
After this experience, the acquired skills were validated and certified, giving rise to the project’s second stage: the acquisition of machinery for the processing of hazelnuts, which, in addition to being effective and easy to use, shortens the long hours of manually processing hazelnuts, nut by nut.
The project is about to go on to the third stage: The construction and implementation of a Chilean hazelnut processing and salesroom, which will be duly certified with the respective sanitary resolution by the Health Ministry.
Thus, after years of work that honor the deepest roots and Pehuenche culture, the El Avellano community is modernizing its production process in an interesting fusion that manages to harmonize ancestral customs with the use of technology.